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Measuring Content Performance: Key Analytics to Track and Optimize


In today’s crowded digital landscape, creating content that resonates with your audience is crucial but challenging. The most effective way to consistently improve engagement and results is by tracking key content analytics.

Robust metrics reveal what is and isn’t working across topics, formats, platforms, and messaging so you can optimize content based on real user data.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the most valuable analytics for optimizing content including:

Overall engagement and sharing

Macro engagement stats show content resonance. We’ll examine social metrics, email clickthroughs, and more.

Traffic source and conversion analytics

Tracing the customer journey highlights effective discovery channels. We’ll look at UTM tracking, referral data, and sales metrics.

Platform and post-specific metrics

Micro stats reveal performance by channel and asset. We’ll detail analyzing views, comments, clicks, and more.

SEO and discoverability KPIs

Monitoring search data improves visibility. We’ll review rankings, site authority, and speed metrics.

A/B testing

Split testing uncovers improvements. We’ll discuss testing headlines, formats, calls to action, and more.

Qualitative feedback

Surveys and interviews provide context behind the stats. We’ll look at gathering audience sentiments.

Let’s explore exactly how to tap into data to create higher performing content your audiences love.

Track Overall Engagement and Sharing

Start by looking at macro engagement metrics that quantify content resonance and reach. Important indicators include:

Social Media Shares and Embeds

Monitor content social shares, views, embeds, and comments. Correlates to wider reach and impact.

Web Traffic

Compare traffic sources and conversions driven by your content using UTMs and goal tracking. Shows reach.

Backlinks and Mentions

Monitor third-party content linking back to your resources. Proves relevance and authority.

Download and Read Rates

Check content download volumes and reading time using analytics. Benchmarks usefulness.

Email Clickthrough Rates

Review CTRs on content links in promotional emails. Higher engagement indicates relevance.

Multimedia Engagement

For video, audio, and presentations compile plays, completion rates, likes, shares, and comments.

Wide lens sharing, traffic, and engagement metrics indicate overall market reception and impact of content assets.

Analyze Traffic Source and Conversion Metrics

Evaluating the customer journey to your content offers clues on effective discovery channels while revealing points for optimization. Key metrics:

Traffic Sources

Compare traffic sources like search, social, email, referrals. Prioritize efforts on high-converting channels.

Conversion Rates

Calculate the % of visitors that convert into leads or buyers from each channel. Look for leak points.

ROI by Channel

Weigh revenue driven by each channel vs. associated costs. Identify and double down on most profitable sources.

Referral Traffic

Track registrations, purchases, and actions referred by links and partners. Quantifies real world impact.

UTM Performance

Use UTM tags to compare performance of specific campaigns, emails, placements. Refine approaches.

Click Depth

Evaluate click depth from channels. More pages per session indicate engagement. Low depth shows content missing the mark.

Traffic Source Trends

Watch changes in channel contribution over time as you expand initiatives. Shows shifting impact.

Analyzing the buyer journey reveals how people discover, engage, and convert so you can optimize the most effective access points.

Track Platform and Post-Specific Metrics

While macro stats show the big picture, micro analytics on individual pieces of content highlight what topics and formats perform best on each platform. Key details to monitor per post:

Headline and Thumbnail Performance

View rates, clickthrough rates, and social engagement reveal which headlines and visuals attract attention. Refine for improvement.

Watch Time and Completion Rate

For video, audio, and longform content monitor completion rates. Fall off indicates engagement issues.

Click Depth

Average page depth and session duration measures how engaging content is. Higher is better.

Social Metrics

Compile likes, comments, reshares, and conversations for each social post. Benchmarks response and sentiment.

Landing Page Metrics

Assess unique conversions, time on page, bounce rates per piece of content linking to your site. Shows content driving actions.

Backlink Volume

Monitor domains linking to each post. More backlinks signal relevance and authority.

Platform metrics for individual assets shed light on resonating topics, formats, and styles worth amplifying across your content mix.

Track SEO and Discoverability Metrics

SEO plays a crucial role in content visibility and authority. Be sure to monitor:

Keyword Rankings

Use tools like SEMrush to monitor positions for target keywords over time. Improving ranks expands organic reach.

Overall Domain Authority

Domain authority scores like MozTrust and Domain Authority benchmark your overall search authority and perception.

Organic Traffic

Dig into analytics to monitor organic goal completions, session duration, pages per session and other Google visitor behavior metrics. Validates SEO content resonates.

Click Depth From Search

Assess click depth and time-on-site for organic visitors to evaluate whether searchers engage once they click in. Indicates relevance.

Page Speed and Mobile Optimization

Site speed significantly impacts rank. Use tools like Google Pagespeed Insights to maintain fast, mobile pages.

Snippet Appearance

Search target keywords and preview how search engines display page titles, descriptions, and snippets in results. Tailor copy to improve context.

Carefully tracking SEO KPIs ensures your team keeps making discoverability and visibility gains organically.

A/B Test Content Variations

Systematically testing content variations pinpoints effective improvements for optimizing performance. Elements to test include:

Headlines and Titles

Try different headlines on the same post. See which drive higher clickthroughs and engagement.

Thumbnails and Images

Test multiple visuals. Brighter contrast and emotional images often win.

Topic Angles

Measure how your audience responds to content on the same theme with different angles and subtopics.

Content Formats

Try presenting the same material as a blog post, live video, podcast, infographic etc. See what best attracts your audience.

Calls to Action

Experiment with signup button verbiage, newsletter prompts, and resource CTAs to determine what converts visitors best.

Email Subject Lines

Send content to small holdout groups with different email subject lines. Find what motivates opens.

Minor variations can result in significant performance differences. Small tweaks add up to major optimization over time.

Gather Qualitative Feedback

While metrics provide hard data, customer surveys, reviews, and interviews add context on subjective audience sentiments. Ask about:

Content Satisfaction

Gather testimonials on what content they find most useful and suggestions for improvements.

Topic Interests

Survey customers directly on what topics and content types they want. Identify gaps.

Content Consumption Habits

Ask when, where, how, and how often they engage with content. Reveals preferences.

Desired Lengths

Question ideal post length, video durations, and depths. Accommodate preferences.

Feature Requests

Solicit ideas for new formats, guest contributors, discussion topics, and tools they’d value.

Pain Points

Identify content areas where they still struggle so you can address knowledge gaps.


Actively collect best examples of your content providing value. Powerful social proof.

Direct audience insights help create content that resonates by aligning with preferences, gaps, and goals.


Comprehensive content analytics across engagement, conversions, optimization tests, SEO, and qualitative feedback provide the critical insights you need to consistently refine and tailor content.

But metrics have limits. Balance data with human creativity, empathy, and understanding your audience’s changing needs.

With an informed yet balanced approach, your team can create remarkable content that wins hearts, minds, and amplifies results by optimizing based on real user data.

So start compiling engagement rates, conversion volumes, feedback surveys, and A/B testing takeaways. The data to guide your content strategy is waiting at your fingertips. Now go put it to use!

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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